Who Is Euferzine?

She was my grandmother, a little woman with such a strange name. Her memory haunts me. She was born in 1898 in Riverton, TN near the Obey River and the area that is now Dale Hollow Lake.

She didn’t go to school after 3rd grade. It was an acceptable norm for mountain girls. When she was ten, her dad died and her mother suddenly became a widow with seven children in Appalachia. The extended family and community came to their aid. The Beatys were a proud family with a rich heritage. Her great-great grandfather, Andrew Beaty, was a Revolutionary War Soldier who served at King’s Mountain.

Euferzine with Brothers and Sisters

Euferzine had no choices in such an isolated area. By the time I was born, she was in her sixties. She had survived as a mountain woman and raised four children and several grandchildren by farming with her husband and doing domestic type work. Her house had no electricity or “running water.” She kept her milk in an icebox and baked cornbread in her cast iron wood stove. When I hugged her I could smell the faint fragrance of snuff.

I was eleven when she died and old enough for her to make a big impression on me. She is the saddest person I have ever known. She would stare into space and go somewhere far, far away where no one could reach her and life couldn’t hurt her. I have spent my life trying not to recreate hers.

She didn’t say much. I think life wore her down and took all the words away.

At this point in my life, I have something to say. I know a few things.  I have learned that when you quit dreaming and hoping, you quit living. Protect your dreams. Feed them. Let them grow up.

I am giving Euferzine a voice through mine.